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Swiss Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin visits ICRC

17-11-1998 News Release 1821

Geneva (ICRC) - Mr Pascal Couchepin, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Public Economy, was received by Mr Cornelio Sommaruga, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at the organization's headquarters in Geneva on 17 November. 

Mr Sommaruga, accompanied by several members of the Committee and senior ICRC officials, once again expressed his gratitude to the Federal Council for its longstanding support for the ICRC. He proceeded to outline the ICRC's work in the area of prevention, the challenges it is currently facing in the field and its financial situation. He also drew attention to the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which is to take place on 12 August 1999.

Mr Couchepin commended the ICRC for its presence in all conflict situations throughout the world and for its ability to respond rapidly and capably to the needs of victims. He also underscored the ICRC's independence, its concern for efficiency and its determination to adapt to new types of conflict and the special needs they generate.

The Federal Councillor further stressed that his government was proud to be a major contributor to the ICRC and to provide substantial support for its field activities.

Before leaving Mr Couchepin talked with a number of staff members, including many from his home canton of Valais, and signed the ICRC's visitors'book.